Technology is a collection of techniques that may be used in the production of materials, goods or services. It includes tools and machines that are often complex, but it also can refer to virtual technologies such as computer software. The term is most commonly used to describe the current state of humanity’s knowledge of how to combine resources to create desirable products, solve problems or satisfy needs.
Technology and Society
Generally, it is believed that technology and society (culture) are inter-dependent. This relationship is characterized as synergistic, symbiotic and co-influential, in which each influences and is influenced by the other. This interaction has been present since the earliest days of human culture and continues to be an important part of today’s world.
Some technologies require significant research, design, investment, construction and training to develop, while others simply spread on the basis of free-market forces, depending on consumer acceptance, patent laws, risk capital availability, government policy, media attention and economic competition among competing firms. Occasionally, technological innovations become controversial and are subject to public debate or formal regulation (e.g. contour plowing, vaccination, genetic engineering, nuclear power plants).
Many aspects of technology are derived from previous inventions and discoveries, which then become improved and further developed through the innovation process. For example, a telephone is a piece of communication technology that relies on prior inventions of wires and transmitters. However, a modern telephone can be improved and enhanced by additional inventions that improve the technology of its components. The improvement of existing technology is called incremental technology. Incremental technology can be seen in upgrades to the operating system of a computer, releasing security patches and other minor changes to the technological aspect of an existing product.